Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment, presented by Koffee Kult, in which we serve up an exciting look at what's on deck for your Florida Panthers. Like our friends at Koffee Kult, this forecast serves up only the best -- so sit back, sip and enjoy our latest brew of news, notes and information!
The road ahead isn't getting any easier for the Florida Panthers.
In the midst of an impressive 6-3-0 run in which all six wins have come against current playoff teams, the Panthers will once again faceoff against three more teams in line for the postseason this week at BB&T Center, hosting the Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens.
"It shows that we can win against any team," Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau said of the team's recent run. "Obviously we want our record to be better, but for now we're playing well… We've just got to keep going. We need these points right now… We've got to keep climbing."
After topping both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in overtime in consecutive games, the Panthers (23-23-8) saw their two-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday night with a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning - the top team in the league with 86 points.
But after outshooting the Lightning 17-3 in the second period, Florida believes they can learn something from the loss to its cross-state rival, a lesson they can use heading into this week.
"I think we've just got to play like that the entire game," Panthers winger Frank Vatrano said. "We were kind of gripping our sticks a little bit too tight there in the beginning and wasn't making the plays that were there. I think as the game went on we were holding onto the puck a lot more and that's why we were creating more offense. If we can start like that every game we'll be fine."
Here's everything you need to know for the week ahead…
Tuesday: Dallas Stars, 7:00 p.m.
After resting up on Monday, the Panthers will get back to work against the Stars (28-22-5) on Tuesday at BB&T Center. In the midst of a five-game road trip, Dallas enters the week on the heels of consecutive losses to Nashville and Arizona. Prior to those defeats, the Stars had won five games in a row, outscoring their opponents 16-8 in that span. Tyler Seguin leads Dallas in both goals (22) and points (51), but is just one of two players on the team to have eclipsed the 40-point mark this season. By comparison, five members of the Panthers have already achieved that feat. In terms of individual players, keep an eye on Frank Vatrano in this game, as the 24-year-old winger leads Florida with a whopping eight goals over the last 13 contests.
In-Arena Activations: 50-50 Raffle, Taco Tuesday, Student Rush, FAU Takeover
Thursday: Calgary Flames, 7:00 p.m.
The Panthers will have revenge on their mind when the Flames (34-15-6) make their lone visit to BB&T Center on Thursday. In their only previous meeting this season, Calgary clawed back from two goals down to defeat Florida 4-3 on Jan. 11 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Since that win, the Flames have gone 5-2-2 to take control of first place in the Pacific Division. One of the main reasons for Calgary's success this season has been the contributions from David Rittich in net. In just his second NHL season, the 26-year-old goaltender owns a 20-4-5 record with a 2.55 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and one shutout. For the Panthers, look for captain Aleksander Barkov to make a dent in the scoresheet in this matchup, as the 23-year-old center has posted a team-leading 53 points this season, including 14 over his last 16 games.
In-Arena Activations: 50-50 Raffle, $5 Beer Thursday, Hoffman's Chocolates Takeover
Sunday: Montreal Canadiens, 7:00 p.m.
The Panthers will close out the week with a huge matchup against the Canadiens (31-18-7) on Sunday at BB&T Center. Montreal enters the week fresh off a 4-3 overtime loss against Toronto on Saturday, but had won eight of its previous 10 games before that. Max Domi, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Drouin have each posted 17 goals for the Canadiens this season, while Domi stands alone as the team's points leader with 49, including one goal and four assists over the past five games. On the opposite end of the ice, look for Mike Hoffman to light the lamp for the Panthers in this contest, as the 29-year-old sniper leads the team in both goals (25) and power-play goals (11). Of Hoffman's 25 goals, a team-leading five have also held up as game-winners.
In-Arena Activations: 50-50 Raffle
- Keith Yandle is seven goals away from his 100th NHL goal.
- Aaron Ekblad is four assists away from his 100th NHL assist.
- Vincent Trocheck is four goals away from his 100th NHL goal.
- Mike Hoffman is four games away from his 400th NHL game.
LUONGO ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY
If you're at BB&T Center this week, there's a good chance you'll see history be made.
Having already broken a tie with Patrick Roy for the second-most games ever played by a goaltender in NHL history by competing in his 1,030th contest on Sunday night against Tampa, Roberto Luongo enters this week on the verge of achieving yet another hallowed milestone.
With just one more victory, the 39-year-old will pick up the 484th win of his career, moving him into a tie with Ed Belfour for third place on the NHL's all-time wins list. A future Hall of Famer, Luongo already owns franchise records for wins (224), saves (15,683) and shutouts (38).
"All I care about is winning games and trying to get into the playoffs," Luongo said when asked about his continued climb up the league's all-time rankings. "Milestones are for another day."
Whether it's a family outing or a night out with your best friends, the Sahlen's Value Pack is a great way to make sure that you don't miss any of the ice-cold action at BB&T Center this year.
With select games available throughout the season, fans are able to purchase the pack in sizes ranging from two to eight tickets. Each ticket comes with a hot dog, soda, popcorn and parking.
The available Value Pack options are as follows:
-- 300 Level Goal Zone - $27
-- Club End - $49
-- Sideline (F) - $67
To learn more about the Value Pack and see what games are available, click HERE.
CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK
From beans to the BB&T Center, check out how Koffee Kult's delicious coffee comes to be!
Video: Florida Panthers take Koffee Kult Tour
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- Enter to win a brand-new Ford while also helping a good cause with the "Cats Car Raffle."
-- Members of the Florida Jr. Panthers took part in the Mini 1-on-1 Shootout tournament during All-Star weekend in San Jose.
Video: NHL All-Star Weekend Shootout Championship Wrap-Up
-- The Panthers recalled Jamie McGinn from AHL Springfield.
-- Rookie defenseman Josh Brown discusses everything from killing penalties to Marlins hats in Jameson Olive's latest Q&A for FloridaPanthers.com.
-- Jonathan Huberdeau answers fans' questions about iguanas, music, cellys and more in the latest Panthers Mailbag.
-- What does rookie center Henrik Borgstrom hate more than anything? Find out in the latest episode of the Territory Talk podcast!